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Haworthia Retusa (Star Cactus) Succulents Plant and Care Guide

Better known by its common name, star cactus, this beautiful succulent can instantly light up your mood and space. It is one of the most popular succulents. The plant's overall appearance is triangular, with short rosettes of thick leaves. It belongs to the family Asphodelaceae and the genus Haworthia. The plant is a native of the South African Western Cape Province. It is also known as Aloe Retusa or Window succulent.

One of the core reasons for their popularity is that they need critically low maintenance. You can simply place them anywhere in your home or garden, and they will grow. They are tiny in appearance. This perennial succulent lasts for many years if one can give them all the care they need.

Basic Information

Haworthia Retusa shows a prolonged appearance of growth. However, the truth is that it grows more underneath the soil than on the top. So, the rosettes above the ground are short, labeling the succulent as slow-growing. The rosettes are triangular in shape and also manifest a recurved appearance. The plant’s rosettes hardly exceed 5 inches in size. The offsets for propagation are formed in the shape of clumped rosettes around the mother plant. Haworthia is particularly interesting to botanists and plant lovers because they feature a specific appendage on their translucent leaves. It is known as “leaf windows.” The task of these windows is to illuminate the leaf’s interior, aiding in photosynthesis naturally.

Temperature and Light Requirements

This succulent is a native of South Africa. The general biogeographical conditions of the country are dry and arid. Likewise, Haworthia also needs dry and arid growing conditions. It is best suited for outdoor life but with no direct glare. The natural conditions of this region of Africa feature dry air without humidity and extreme sun glare. Haworthia growth has two seasons - the active phase during winter and the dormant phase during summer. During the winter, it can tolerate temperatures up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Haworthia is also perfect for indoor growth. You can propagate them even as an indoor plant. It prefers diffused sunlight rather than the direct glare. It needs light but not high heat. The windows are the best place for them. Make sure not to deprive them of sunlight when keeping them inside.


The biggest challenge of growing Haworthia is the appropriate watering of the succulent. Succulents, in general, do not need excessive watering. You can keep them unattended regarding watering for quite a few days. The only accident you can cause to the plant is overwatering it. The perfect soil for Haworthis does not need much water. Sparse watering is enough for the plant. During the winter months, watering them once a week also does good. Take good care of watering when the plant has already matured. Mature Haworthia needs a great watering regime for better survival.

Soil Requirements

The soil requirements for Haworthia succulents resemble pretty much like the other succulents. The soil must be porous and loose and, most crucially, allow for fast drainage. One can use sand to improve drainage of the soil and also to prevent water logging. The planter must have multiple drainage holes to allow easy exit of water. There is no need to arrange for individual planters for growing Haworthia. You can grow multiple Haworthia succulents in a single planter because they don’t grow massively. They are small and can adjust well with others. Haworthia does not need transplanting. Their maximum height is 5 inches, so they can thrive well in the plant where they started growing. If you want to change the planter, the best time would be the dormant summer and spring months. When transplanting, prepare the soil beforehand with the same guidelines. For better and faster growth, you may also prefer to add some fertilizers to the soil. It is the best idea to recreate the soil for the plant as its native environment. The soil should be dry, porous, loose, and possess great water seepage capacity. In no way should the soil be sticky because it will lead to waterlogging and rotting of the plant.


The plant bears small white flowers that wilt very easily. You must always clear the plant of these wilted flowers. Other than this, no special care is needed. Place the succulent planter in adequate sunlight and water it as per requirement. That is all the maintenance that it needs.


One can propagate Haworthia Retusa through stem cutting or leaf offsets. The leaf offsets appear on the plant's mother body as clumped rosettes. It is easy to dissociate them from the plant body and place it in another planter. Haworthia Retusa can also be propagated through stem cuttings. Cut a portion of the succulent stem with the help of a very sharp knife such that making only an incision is enough to obtain a cutting. During transplanting, there are a few essential factors to keep in mind. First, let the sap dry from the plant cutting. This can be done by placing the cut stem or rosette in the air for 2 days. Now it is time to plant this baby succulent into a new pot. Prepare the new pot with the right soil type and mix fertilizers if needed. Young Haworthia Retusa plants need more water than older plants. But you must not overwater a plant because water logging leading to new plant death is a common issue. Place it in indirect sunlight. For fast rooting, use some hormone solution because it yields the best results.


The plant is not toxic to any human being, but it is recommended to stay away from plant sap if you are allergic. They are even safe for pets and other plants. The most prominent issue with the plant is - the rotting of roots due to waterlogging. Bring home a new Haworthia Retusa and enjoy its unmatched beauty. Happy Planting!!!


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